Does geometry constitute a core set of intuitions present in all humans, regardless of their language or schooling? We used two nonverbal tests to probe the conceptual primitives of geometry in the Mundurukú, an isolated Amazonian indigene group. Mundurukú children and adults spontaneously made use of basic geometric concepts such as points, lines, parallelism, or right angles to detect intruders in simple pictures, and they used distance, angle, and sense relationships in geometrical maps to locate hidden objects. Our results provide evidence for geometrical intuitions in the absence of schooling, experience with graphic symbols or maps, or a rich language of geometrical terms.I figure math people, and those interested in cross-cultural research, will find this interesting. Unfortunately, the paper contains no cute pictures of monkeys playing with toys, though.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
And Now for Some Good Research
After exposing you to some really bad research, I felt a rather intense pang of conscience, and decided I should at least mention some good research. It just so happens that I read about some this morning. It's a pretty easy read, so instead of writing a long post about it, I'll just link you to it, and give you the abstract: